NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A New York City Councilman from Brooklyn is being hailed a hero for saving a pregnant cat from the side of a busy highway.

As CBS2’s Emily Smith reported, Loretta is known as a tough cat around town. She has a bullet in her hip and she’s expecting a litter of kittens.

READ MORE: New York Weather: CBS2’s 12/1 Wednesday Morning Forecast

Councilman Stephen Levin (D-33rd) found her on the side of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway Friday during his evening rush hour commute.

“I tried to get her by the scruff of the neck, and unfortunately was not able to grab her there,” Levin recalled. “So she kind of freaked out a little bit, and I was able to grab her around the rib cage and ran right over to my car.”

The councilman immediately took Loretta to the Brooklyn Animal Resource Coalition in Williamsburg.

While cleaning her wounds, veterinarians said they discovered additional signs of trauma and abuse, leading them to believe she’s had a hard life.

“I only hope that maybe somebody knows something and saw something and can tell us possibly who did this, so the person can be brought to justice,” said Vinny Spinola, with BARC. “(What are the charges for something like that?) Animal cruelty. It depends on how many counts, but now it’s a felony,”

READ MORE: NYCFC Reaches Eastern Conference Final After Penalty Shootout

Vet technician Nicole Serra took on the task of cleaning Loretta up. She said the cat came into the shelter in shock, and could have died.

“It looks like where the bullet entered, there were patches of more abrasions or what not,” she said.

Being pregnant, the cat can’t be given heavy medications or undergo surgery for the bullet, but fortunately it is lodged in a spot that isn’t problematic, Smith reported.

“We need to send her all the love through the airwaves that she can get,” said Levin.

Right now, there are about 35 cats at BARC ready for adoption. But for Loretta, it’s going to be a while. She still needs to have her kittens and other tests to make sure she is ready for a family.

MORE NEWS: Nets Edge Knicks On James Johnson's Free Throws

BARC said most animals are displaced because people have moved or deceased. When an abused animal comes in, the focus is to repair the damage that’s been done, including emotional damage.